In an interview with Piers Morgan, the wildly popular footballer had launched an appeal to find the woman who fed him burgers when he begged for food as a child.
He may be one of the biggest stars in the world right now, but Cristiano Ronaldo had a rough childhood riddled with pain. Some might even say that these experiences are what pushed him to achieve the massive success he did. But even when he talks about his struggles through childhood, the star still remembers a woman whose generosity is still fresh in his mind. A nostalgic Ronaldo recalled his childhood days with his sporting club friends when they used to beg for food at a McDonald's outlet near the playground where he grew up in Portugal.
During an ITV interview with Piers Morgan, the wildly popular footballer launched an appeal to find the woman who used to give him and his friends hamburgers when they were children. Narrating the story of his childhood he said that three women, two of whom he never found out, handed them hamburgers every time they knocked at the McDonald's door asking for food, reports Daily Mail.
"We were a little hungry. We had a McDonald’s next to the stadium, we knocked on the door and asked have you got any burgers," Ronaldo said. "There was always Edna and two other girls. I never found them again. I asked people in Portugal, they closed the McDonalds, but if this interview can help find them, I would be so happy."
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner also said he would like to host a dinner for them in Turin or Lisbon if they were ever reunited.
Later, a woman named Paula Leça revealed herself as the McDonald employee who gave hamburgers to the boys and said that she would happily accept Ronaldo's dinner invitation. According to Daily Mail, she told Portuguese radio station Renascenca: "They would appear in front of the restaurant and when there were hamburgers left over our manager would give us permission to hand them over."
"One of the boys was Cristiano Ronaldo who was perhaps the most timid of them all. This happened almost every night each week. I still laugh about it all now. I had already told my son about it but he thought it was a fib because he couldn't imagine his mum ever giving Cristiano Ronaldo a hamburger."
"My husband already knew about it, because sometimes he would go to pick me up from work at night and he also saw him. It's funny to go back now to something that happened so long ago. It shows his humility."
When asked about Ronaldo, she added, "If he invited me out for dinner, I'd go for sure. The first thing I'd do would be to say thank you and during the meal we would have time to remember those times," the mother of two added.
A lot has changed since then. He explained the struggles that come with being famous, so much so, that the most followed celebrity on Instagram wishes to be free again.
During the interview, Morgan asked Ronaldo: "Is it suffocating being you?" To which he replied: "Being me is boring. A part of it is fantastic. Being famous, first page of the newspaper and TV. But after 15 years, after all this time, I want some privacy."
"In the last ten years, my privacy has gone. I haven't been to the park with my kids. If I go, people turn up and my kids are nervous, my girlfriend is nervous, I'm nervous."
"When you are in public, you cannot be yourself. It's boring. I want to be free again," he added.
He went on to add that there are only four people in his life who he can trust, "I'm not going to say names, because I don't think it is fair. But I will say four persons, 100 per cent trust, four persons. I have very close friends, family, but who I trust 100 percent, it's maybe four persons. This life is like that."
But there are still a few scars from his past that haunt the footballer even today. At one point in the interview, talking about his childhood memories and his absentee father, Ronaldo got visibly choked up. When they played a clip of his father talking about how proud he was of his son, the footballer broke down.
Ronaldo's father is said to have been an alcoholic, and while they never really connected during his childhood, it was not too different when he grew up either. Watching his father express his pride for his son shortly before his death moved the 34-year-old to tears.
While there are still memories of his past that may weigh down on the star, the one woman who made sure the kids who played in the playground nearby didn't go hungry left an impression on him, one that was deep enough for him to seek a reconnection decades later.